Skip to main content
11:30 am
11:31 am
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" first, more women in the new congress including iraq war veteran tammy duckworth, then,
11:32 am
-- outrage over a fatal gang rape of a woman in india, and declining birth rates in the u.s. ♪ >> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, diversity in congress. the new congress is the most diverse ever with 20 women senators and 78 women in the house of representatives. the house democratic caucus has more women and people of color than it does white men, another historic first. we will explain what this means to you. but first we introduce you to
11:33 am
one of those freshman. illinois democrat tammy duckworth, one of two female war veterans to be sworn in this week. the illinois democrat is the first double-amputee to serve in congress. the iraq war veteran is using her story to get more support for veterans across the country. i sat down with this incredibly inspirational person to hear her story, in her own words. >> i had been in iraq at this point eight months, i had been away from home 11 and i was just doing a regular day's mission flying a black hawk helicopter. i was the co-pilot on the crew and we had flown a full day of missions, i had a really good day. the weather was getting better, it wasn't so hot anymore, i was flying with a crew that i had really got along with and two aircrafts. and at the end of the day, this was during the second battleor faja and we were not in the
11:34 am
battle but we were in a nearby area and what had happened was some of the insurgents who had been flushed out of faluja had been holed up in an area and we were ambushed in flight and they shot at us with a number of things. small arms...we were hit with small arms fire and a rocket propel grenade which is what exploded on me and we were able to land the aircraft. the last thing i remember trying to shut down the engines on an emergency shut down. >> duckworth woke up a double amputee, losing both legs. how did it change her life? >> it's freeing. it's been a gift and i choose to look at it as a gift. yes, my life ultimately more difficult physically. i can't do the things that are great passions in my life, you know, my unit is deployed right now and there's a piece of my heart with them and i can't be there.
11:35 am
sorry. it's given me a new mission and i get to do this for them. >> she wants to use her political clout to help service people. >> there's so many things that need to be done. i think there's a responsibility to, if we' going to go toar, have a discussion how we will use these men and women. right? they're the ones who bleed. so we don't make decisions to go to war recklessly, we have honest discussions of the cost of war. if we're going to expend our greatest national treasure, it better be for the right reasons. and then they better be well equipped.
11:36 am
and then when they come home, whether or not they have visible wounds, we need to take care of them and we need to take care of their families. duckworth plans to make sure deployments are more fully vetted and discussed in the future. >> i think that hopefully i can be a voice to say, well, i'm not weak on defense and i will go tomorrow. i'm still serving in the national guard. i don't know what they could do with a gimpy lieutenant colonel but maybe i can wash windshields or something, i can still do that. but, but if we're going to do this, and i will be the first to volunteer to go, but we're going to have a discussion. we're going to have a good thorough discussion where we don't demonize or vilify one another because we -- someone is questioning the motivation and the benefits of this natn. if we're going to invade another country, if it's truly in the greatest interest of the united states then absolutely, let's have that discussion and if we're going to do it then we're going to do it.
11:37 am
>> how does having a woman like that in congress with you change congress? >> bonnie, in today's congress with only a hand full of veteran, male or female, a female disabled veteran who saw combat is going to have unique standing to speak to defense issues. veterans who are disabled and come home don't know what their mission is. to have someone in congress fire for them i think that's a good thing. >> and i think that the diverse which she represents, she believes we need to modernize the v.a. is incredibly important to have her constantly beating that drum is important to make sure that the american people recognize the fact that these military folks have made for us. >> she's example ohow the role of women has evolved over the course of the past few years and past few decades in congress and in the military.
11:38 am
>> so how does adding her voice change, for example, how things are going to be done about the next war, if there is one. >> it's interesting to note that there are veterans, people who were not in this congress, but to take mcgovern who was another war hero, these were people who often because they have seen war were really listened to. i was in cgress then when they spoke to those issues. one of the reasons that he rose to prominence, became the -- remember the vietnam war all that was because he had been a war hero. there's no question that he sounds very much like she is not inclined to go to war very lightly. and so in the congress you will see that when it comes time to speak to the defense authorization bill, and we all have to wait in line, she's going to be moved up front and
11:39 am
not only thai'murehe' going to be on the defense committee. >> you know, i've seen all over the news this week about the diverse congress being sworn in, but i want to -- in terms of public policy, what is it going to mean? is it because most of them ever democrats, is it going to be an acceptance of more spending, more social programs? what does it mean to the average taxpayer? >> to have a more diverse congress, i think that remains to be seen. i think it's great when the congress is a reflection of what america is and having more people who feel women and those who are disabled feel that they can run for congress that it isn't this club for just certain people, i think that's a good thing. i think policywise, though, i think that remains to be seen because if we are talking about republicans and democrats and everybody going to their side and not making a difference, we may be in that sort of stalemate. i think it remains to be seen.
11:40 am
>> just that interview with representative duckworth it showed thathe seemed very pragmatic when it came to approaching policy. being thoughtful and i think that's what we're going to see from more diverse congress. folks that have lived the lives of the folks that they're representing back home and this actually then is promising. it does reflect the demographics, but also demonstrates the importance of making sure that both people -- both parties come more together. i think she was example of that with the in ii view. >> will it make it easier for the two in the house where she is, where the pro sides are extremely did i sided, will it make it -- the budgeting process, whatever, easier? >> what was interesting, just to take it back to what we saw with the fiscal cliff. where a lot of the negotiation happened behind closed doors and boehner said i want it to be open. what happens it comes in to every day americans living rooms, every single day through social media.
11:41 am
all of a sudden american people are part that have conversation they're going to force their congressional members. whether they're republican or democrats to come to agreements. create an opportunity for the american people to be more engaged in their politics, it's a lot harder nor other parties to sequester and hold bills when they're unchecked. >> you know, i think definitely having more women in congress is going to make eight lot prettier. [laughter] a lot easier to look at and watch c-span. but to be -- i think remains to be seen but way things are going right now, i don't see it will make vast difference in way things are handled now. few women really just rise up lead the charge it can make a great bit of difference. hope. ly be more efficient. >> until we have representative government where 51% of the members of congress and senate are women then -- and i think we're basically right now
11:42 am
because we have -- we're not there. >> we're not there. we only had 44 women total serve in the senate. we have 20 of them right now. that says how far we've come. but we're still not there. >> absolutely. >> let's face it, when -- if she speaks up, she's a democrat. i would imagine that she is not going to be very pro-war. if on the other hand she's a democrat who spoke out sometimes about war in ways that in fact were more she might be different. i don't think that's -- mccain was a veteran. he is a veteran republican who speaks about war the way it affects a republican to do. i would think she'll speak about war and defense the way you imagine a democrat. >> what i'd like to see is her especially with her experience
11:43 am
not only being in combat but also being in the veterans affairs is going in there and finding where the waste is, finding where the bureaucracy is, finding where we are not serving our veterans. i think if she can do that without democrat or republican, any kind of part salt veil that would benefit a lot. >> how can you do anything in congress without some kind of partisan veil these days n you know, beyond just tammy duckworth this is talk about diversity, the caucus, democratic caucuses more female and diverse than it is white male that's never happened in history before. we have the first bi-sexual woman in congress. first lesbian in the senate. tell me how this is going to change things for the average -- >> i don't know. what i hope instead of the importance put on just the diversity the importance put on
11:44 am
policies that are past how are they going to help the american people. the american people, you're regular mom at home who is paying the bills is worried about, are my taxes going up? not how many women are in congress. but we need policies that are going to really help americans. >> one last quick question. the republican party, diversity all pretty much on the democrat side what the republicans need to do to get more women and people of color representing them in congress. >> the republicans over the course of the past few years have been paind by democrats as being anti-woman. and i think this is something where political bickering has really kind of fueled that. and it's not always been needed. i think that democrats have done a very good job of framing republicans that way. and i don't think it's quite fair, but also i believe republicans need to re-evaluate some things and change their method when it comes to women and women's issues.
11:45 am
>> let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from the women's voices in congress to an international outcry. the indian women's rights community is calling for justice in the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in new delhi. last month's assault in new delhi sparked outrage and protests across the country because of what protestors say is the government's inability to prevent violence against women. they're urging officials to make it safer for women, and to stand up to perpetrators. indian officials have arrested five men and have another in custody. the men are charged with rape, kidnapping andurder. protests continue in the country. tell me about what women face routinely in india, particularly in new delhi, that we've learned this week when it comes to gang rape and rape. >> that there's a generational shift occurring before our eyes.
11:46 am
and what happens when women go in to the workforce and are actually -- coworkers with men. because unfortunately sadly these incidents happen all the time but the fact that you have more professional women going in to the workforce, working alongside men it came out in to the open. it went viral. >> so you're saying -- but you are agreeing with -- some commentators say, i have read a lot of them. some say india just not country that is used to treating people equally, look at their dahli used to be referred to as the untouch annals some say, particularly men say that this is a reaction this surge in rape it has surged in the last five or ten years as have women surged in to the workplace. that men are angry and they -- >> but to be fair it's reported rape that has actually -- that surged. the fact that women actually feel that they can actually
11:47 am
report it is actually i think a good thing that you bring in to the light of day. the fact that you have women standing next to men protesting and demanding that justice be served, is also seeing there's new day in india. where before when we'd be on sidelines would be too afraid to have that commentary. but i also want to talk about, this is hrendous crime they are movingorward as a country and trying to do justice is good. but then let's take a step back what we're doing. we failed to pass the violence against women act that protects not only women, but also women and gays in relationships and the fact that we're pointing our finger at another country that has tragic as it is, they're coming together and trying to make that change. we're taking a step back. i think that is what the discussion that we need to have. >> well, if we're going to get in to this. politics have really come to play with the violence against women's act. i personally, i've had someone very close to be be abused and very much for their being rights for women and protect -- this is
11:48 am
a human rights piece of legislation. but over the course of the past few years when it has been up for reatari six, they have taken it to win some political points with women and say that republicans are against this bill. when actually the bill has changed over the course there are some points, there are some things that we do need to debate in here and there are some things that we need to make -- that may not even need to be part of this bill but i think we should have a debate about and consider. it's not about just being anti-woman. >> but let's -- i don't want to spend too much of our limited time on that. i am just amazed at what is going on in india, which is trying to become one of the world's super powers, which already is probably economically and china and india, we always talk about being overtaken by china, but china and india are competing with each other for that role. can they possibly think about becoming a super power when
11:49 am
their own police rape women who have been raped, who come -- there were many incidents in the past couple of years where including a 16-year-old girl brought by her parents to the police station because she'd been raped. then the police raped her. this goes on with some degree of frequency. >> that's very important point. that is the -- as a country rises to -- it's economic power, it becomes the focus of other countries and is much more sensitive to the kins of criticism that india is now getting. but there is a very important issue that needs to be uncovered here. these are gangs of very young men who roam the street, india is one of those countries which has favored male over female births and they are paying the price for it now.
11:50 am
these are young unaffiliated men, there are not comparable women in their age group to be with them that -- in the society that doesn't value women anyway. they're out like wolves looking for women. >> so what does that -- >> india, which had been in the forefront of thinking through birth control and such issues are allowed the notion that had always been thereof the preference for male children to become dominant in that society just as it is in china. except in china they punish it so harshly -- >> one child rule. >> having growing pains, it's a cultural thing. and to maria's point that the fact that there are these ram lease now and protests of men and women and children next to each other saying, no more way rape. is a good thing. but they are not where they need
11:51 am
to be. >> i hope they see that this will hold them back as a potential super power. you can't be a super power if you repress more than half your population. >> the fact that companies now that women are in the workforce have to hire buses just toake these women home is an indication of how bad the situation is. the government tried this thing where they have women-only buses and men-only buses which wasn't working because sometimes men would still go on the women-only buses. but that's not the solution. the solution is to have -- put these men behind bars to make sure that they are convicted at higher rate because it's only like 24% are being convicted. where as you compare that to a america where over 50% of men who are convicted of rape. i think the system has to change and is going to take awhile because it is a cultural thing >> all right. from safety for women to smaller families. hispanic women, generally considered to have the highest fertility rates in the united states, now have the steepest declining birthrates of any group.
11:52 am
according to the pew research center, in 2011 the american birthrate hit a record low, with 63 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, led by the decline in births to immigrant women. the national birthrate is now half of what it was during the baby boom years. the decline was steepest among mexican-american women and women who emigrated from mexico. sociologists and demographers attribute this decline to a change in the way many hispanic women view motherhood, greater access to information, and higher education. is this a good thing or bad thing? >> i don't think it's something we need to get too alarmed about right now. there are many factors that contribute it to. one hispanics have highest unemployment rate between 110-13 rate where you have seen the decline. but also cultural thing. as more women get educated and more are in the workforce they
11:53 am
are not having the eight kids that my grandmother had now women limit to two or three. a combination of the economy, plus the fact that they're getting a higher education has led to this. i wouldn't get alarmed we're growing at very fast rate. just last ten years we've doubled hispanic population by 2050 we're estimated to be at 12 million. i would say we're watching the situation but it's not an alarming rate yet. >> this is really very -- a very american thing if you think about it. >> notice when this decline stronger than we expected earlier than we expected, when it began, coincides almost exactly with the coming of the recession. and emigrants when they first come to this country repeat the pattern of their home countries they have a lot of children. so they have been here just a little while and they understand that the best way to increase your income in the short terms
11:54 am
to reduce the number of children. don't forget what is happening in mexico they're down to 2.5 children per couple. it's all part of a package that makes sense to me. >> there's a longer term problem here that i think we have to worry about with the shrinking, birth rate going down. also have to worry how many people will be in the workforce down the road how many people are going to be paying taxes. right now we have a problem because we have so many baby boomers, 10,000 baby boomers entering the system every day. the workforce isn't what it needs to be in order to support those. think what it's going to be like 30, 40, 50 years down the road when of this population trying to support the population. >> if anything it's because of the latino community for most part that we've actually been able to maintain high birth rates making sure that we're not -- we're rising instead of de in europe. we have europeans have lower birth rate. but the interesting part is that we're getting much more of an educated workforce coming out of this. that is strengthens up for the new economy that's coming out. meaning that if you are getting
11:55 am
educated, you're going to higher paying jobs that you're going to be able to support different safety nets. but what is curious of all of this is that when you start polling young latino darks darks when you start polling what they want to do, more than anything is get an education. that's number one. >> are we serving them with the education? giving them the resources? >> isn't that overall -- i would say it's a great thing. also anybody here concerned about the fact that in my lifetime the population in the u.s. went from 170 million to now 310 million. at one point are we going to say there are too many ofsere, we're destroying the environment, making it impossible, for example, the drought in the midwest over last two years. the drought in the water shortage in georgia of several summers ago where all of atlanta had almost no water. when are we going to start worrying about over populating
11:56 am
the country? >> i think it has less to do with over population but are we using our energy resources smartly. are we actually educating folks. because you can argue that china as they increase middle class, they actually all of a sudn want to be high priced middle class as very simple level, something that -- meat prices are going up that is a luxury. how are we educating our population that we're being kind to the environment and using stuff at our disposal working smartly. >> it does respond -- i think something very natural about this. people are going to have to deal with children when they feel more uniform courtable about the environment and -- >> the economy. >> and certainly about the economy. i think this is goingo take care of itself. women have lot of children when they -- >> we got to run. that's it for this education of "to the contrary." please follow me on twitter @bonnie erbe and @tothecontrary and check our website, where the discussion
11:57 am
continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a copy of "to the contrary" please contact federal ne service at 1-888-343-1940.
11:58 am
11:59 am

To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe
PBS January 5, 2013 11:30am-12:00pm PST

News/Business. (2013) Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). New. (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY India 10, China 6, Tammy Duckworth 3, Duckworth 3, Us 3, Bonnie Erbe 2, United States 2, Mexico 2, America 2, Douglas 2, Illinois 2, New Delhi 2, U.s. 2, Mccain 1, Bonnieerbe 1, Boehner 1, Atlanta 1, Europe 1, Georgia 1, Ofsere 1
Network PBS
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast
Tuner Channel 71 (507 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 1/5/2013